Tech giant Google has set up and officially opened its first artificial intelligence lab in Accra, Ghana. The centre comes behind schedule and adds to the company’s other centres in New York, Tokyo, Paris and Zurich. Google’s AI lead in Africa, Moustapha Cisse from Senegal, hopes that the company will be able to build products that will help solve the continent’s problems.
How Artificial Intelligence will help Africa
“Most of what we do in our research centers at Google and not just in Accra, we publish it and open-source code, so that everybody can use it to build all sorts of things,” Cisse said. “A team of Pennsylvania University and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture using TensorFlow to build new artificial intelligence models that are deployed on phones to diagnose crop disease. This wasn’t done by us but by people who use the tools we built.”
Cisse was referring to an app where a farmer can hover their phone over a crop and instantly determine the disease the crop is suffering from, hence initiating fruitful mitigation interventions.
Some of the AI initiatives that come in handy are language translation, through the Google Translate platform, as well as virtual assistance to users. Cisse said the centre in Accra will focus on focus on enhancing Google Translate’s ability to capture African languages which comprise 2000 dialects.
The centre will also give grants to AI enthusiasts, PhD scholarship for machine learning scientists, and world with researchers from African Universities. Currently, Google supports graduate programs in Machine Intelligence at the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences centre in Rwanda.